Aussie News - September 4
By Adam Hamilton
Star trotting mare Queen Elida returned from a let-up with another feature win at Melton on Saturday night.
The Kiwi-owned five-year-old began fairly but safely from the standing-start and won the race when she whizzed around early to take the lead from Bullion Harry.
In contrast, the other exciting Kiwi-bred Ollivici galloped at the start and had to sit parked for the last lap.
His effort to keep coming and get within 2.7m of Queen Elida was terrific.
Both will be major players in all the feature trotting races for the remainder of the year, including the Brisbane Inter Dominion.
The other Melton feature, the Minuteman free-for-all, went to evergreen veteran Bulletproof Boy, who led throughout for trainer-driver Scott Ewen to beat former Victoria winner Max Delight.
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Star pacer Rock N Roll Doo has officially put the “demons” of last year’s failed New Zealand Cup raid behind him.
Mick Stanley’s stable star followed a breathtaking Victoria Cup win last October with an NZ Cup campaign marred by bad manners and bad luck.
He wasn’t the same horse in four Victorian runs after returning home and plans to return to NZ for the Race by Grins at Cambridge were aborted in favour of a long spell.
But a stunning first-up second at Melton followed by last night’s narrow but impressive $150,000 Len Smith Mile win at Menangle have him back on target as one of Australia’s top open-class pacers.
“He wasn’t a happy horse and definitely feeling something, but we never really got to the bottom of what it was,” Stanley said.
“We’ve been really happy with him this campaign and it’s exciting and a relief to have him back to his best.”
Rock N Roll Doo sat parked and nabbed leader and favourite Spirit Of St Louis to win by a nose in a 1min51.1sec mile. They dashed home in 54.4 and 26.2sec.
“The Victoria Cup is next and then we’ll probably go to the Inter Dominion (in Brisbane),” Stanley said.
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Gasps of shock went through Gloucester Park last Friday night when WA’s most exciting pacer Never Ending suffered his first defeat.
First-up from a spell and unbeaten in nine runs, the Justin Prentice-trained three-year-old ruined his chances by galloping at the start of the final race at Gloucester Park.
Never Ending settled down 40m behind the field and did a mighty job to finish third, just 11.1m behind Louie Dior. He smashed the clock late considering the official 55.6sec last half.
Earlier, Gary Hall Sr’s emerging open-class player Your So Fine made it seven wins on end and 10 wins from just 15 lifetime starts in the $50,000 Binshaw.
The former Kiwi four-year-old just did enough to stave-off a gallant Alcopony in a 1min56.5sec mile rate for 2130m with Gary Hall Jr aboard.
The Halls also combined to snare the quinella in the free-for-all with Prince Of Pleasure leading throughout to beat Jumpingjackmac, who was first-up from a spell. They dashed home in 55.5sec.
Hall Jr enjoyed a massive night with five wins. The others were: October Reign (race one), Kimble (three) and Mr Fantastic (seven).
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Queensland trainer Shannon Price capped a pleasing TAB Eureka night by winning the consolation, the $100,000 Group 2 Stockade, with three-year-old Sure Thing Captain, who dashed home along the inside to beat fellow Queenslander Dangerzone.
Earlier, Price’s stable star Speak The Truth ran a terrific fifth in the TAB Eureka.
“It was a great night,” she said. “I was proud of Speak The Truth. He was under pressure a long way out and just kept coming.
“And to finish the night with ‘Captain’ winning was terrific. He’ll go for a good spell now, while I’ll either go to Perth for the big four-year-old races or stay home for the (Brisbane) Inter Dominion with Speak The Truth.”
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There was a time when Nathan Turnbull toyed with the idea of chasing a TAB Eureka start.
But he was very content to take a smaller fish with his stable star, three-year-old Better Be The Best, in the $100,000 Group 2 NSW Breeders Challenge at Menangle last night.
Better Be The Best made it 14 wins from just 19 starts and almost $400,000 in prize money when he thrashed his rivals by 17.9m in a 1min52sec mile.